The NY Times, Self Proclaimed 'Newspaper of Record'
Underreports Size of Anti-War Demonstration-Again
From From: "A.N.S.W.E.R." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Oct. 26, 2003
WASHINGTON POST COVERAGE of OCT. 25 & other media coverage
The October 25 demonstration to End the Occupation of Iraq
and Bring the Troops Home Now demonstration was broadcast live and then
rebroadcast several times on C-Span, it received major coverage by CNN over
an 18 hour period. It was also picked up by hundreds of local newspapers
and received widespread international press attention. The Washington Post
carried a photograph of the demonstration on its front page; the accompanying
article is included below in its entirety.
ORGANIZERS' ESTIMATE 100,000, POLICE ESTIMATE 50,000, NEW
YORK TIMES REPORT 10,000
In another shameful example of biased reporting, the New York
Times report of Oct. 25 gave a lower crowd estimate than even the Washington
DC police by a factor of five. For decent and objective coverage see the
Washington Post article.
By Manny Fernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 26, 2003; Page A08
Tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators marched in Washington
yesterday to call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, turning out
in smaller numbers than for prewar protests but making plain their opposition
during a noisy yet peaceful procession.
From a stage on the Mall and along a route that ringed the
Washington Monument, the White House and the Justice Department, protesters
lodged an array of grievances against the Bush administration's domestic
and foreign policies, including the financial and human costs of the occupation
and the effect of the Patriot Act on civil liberties. Organizers of the
two coalitions that sponsored the demonstration, International ANSWER and
United for Peace and Justice, said the morning rally at the Washington Monument
and a march through downtown that grew throughout the afternoon signaled
a revival of the antiwar movement, which had not staged a major street demonstration
in Washington since the fall of Baghdad in April.
"The movement has gotten a very big gust of wind in its
sails at the very moment that the Bush administration is slipping in the
polls," said Brian Becker, an organizer with ANSWER, which stands for
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.
Yesterday's march coincided with protests in more than two
dozen cities across the United States and around the world, including San
Francisco, Anchorage and Paris. D.C. police and U.S. Park Police were out
in force in vehicles, on motorcycles and bicycles and on horseback in the
District. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and a Park Police spokesman
said no arrests had been made as of late afternoon.
The demonstrators represented a diverse mix of dissent, from
suburban high school students to gray-haired retirees, from fathers pushing
their children in strollers to Muslim American college students shouting
through bullhorns. There were people from D.C. Poets Against the War, the
Louisville Peace Action Community, Northern Virginians for Peace and Central
Ohioans for Peace, among many others. Banners in Spanish, Korean, Urdu,
Hebrew, Arabic and Tagalog decried the war. Smaller marches began at various
locations in the city and led to the main rally, including those organized
by Muslim American and by African American activists.
Demonstrators criticized the administration's prewar assertions
about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda
and condemned the domestic war on terrorism as an attack on civil liberties,
particularly the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism legislation the president
signed into law two years ago today. They also denounced the administration's
request for $87 billion for reconstruction and military operations in Iraq
and Afghanistan while money for schools and social services at home dwindles.
"Don't give him 87 cents!" declared Democratic presidential
candidate Al Sharpton. "Give our troops a ride home!" Sharpton
was one of the day's many speakers. Their main target was out of town: President
Bush left for Camp David on Friday.
The crowd did not appear to match International ANSWER's Jan.
18 demonstration, the largest antiwar rally in Washington since the Vietnam
War. That protest, was put at 100,000 by police and 500,000 by organizers.
Nonetheless, Becker and other organizers said yesterday's turnout exceeded
their expectations, and they estimated the attendance at 100,000, with crowds
on the march route spilling over what they described as 23 Washington blocks.
Ramsey estimated that the event drew 40,000 to 50,000 people.
Organizers said a large number of veterans and military families
with loved ones in Iraq participated. Around her neck, Nanci Mansfield of
Burnsville, N.C., wore a heart-shaped sign with a picture of her son in
military uniform and the words: "Love my soldier. Hate this war."
Some of the biggest applause at the rally, which filled a corner of the
monument grounds at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, came when Fernando
Solar of Escondido, Calif., whose Marine son was killed March 27 in Iraq,
addressed the crowd. "We need to make Mr. Bush understand: He's not
the owner of the lives of our children," he said.
Bill Perry, 56, a construction worker from Levittown, Pa.,
who served in Vietnam, stood at the edge of the monument grounds in the
morning, holding a homemade sign demanding that the United States get out
of Iraq and the United Nations get in. "About six blocks up the street,
there's a beautiful memorial for 58,000 of our brothers and sisters who
died in Vietnam," said Perry, wearing a yellow sweat shirt emblazoned
with an "Airborne" eagle insignia. "Already, we've lost about
350 of our own brothers and sisters in this war. One can't help but wonder
how big the memorial for this war is going to have to be."
The demonstration, organizers said, signified a new phase
in the life of the antiwar movement. It illustrated new cooperation among
often-divergent factions, as for the first time, two of the biggest coalitions
put their organizational muscle behind one event, sharing expenses and logistical
duties. But it also seemed to reveal the movement's erratic momentum, peaking
in number and visibility at the start of the year with prewar demonstrations
in Washington, New York and around the world, going without large-scale
street protests since April and now turning out thousands to rally.
Organizers have said that mobilizing large numbers during
a protracted occupation as opposed to a dramatic, imminent threat of war
has been a challenge and that street demonstrations are just one way the
movement manifests itself. "No one demonstration changes U.S. policy,"
said Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice.
"But it's part of a process, and a demonstration like today's helps
to get people recommitted."
In one of yesterday's smaller pre-march gatherings, about
75 self-described "anti-capitalist" demonstrators marched around
the new Washington Convention Center under heavy police escort, linking
claims that the Bush administration is exploiting the people of Iraq to
accusations that domestic leaders are neglecting the needs of the poor.
Demonstrators circled the convention center, where Mayor Anthony A. Williams
(D) was sponsoring an expo for new home buyers and developers in the city.
Not all groups out yesterday were against government policies.
Rallies coordinated by the D.C. chapter of Free Republic, a national conservative
group, served as a vocal counterpoint to the day, as did two small groups
of counter-demonstrators who waved signs along Constitution Avenue denouncing
the protesters. Tempers were heated, but there were no major incidents.
At a park a block west of the White House, about 50 people
voiced support for the administration at a Free Republic rally and held
signs saying, "We gave peace a chance, we got 9/11." The group
drew jeers and cries of "Shame, shame" as antiwar marchers passed.
One of the counter-protesters, Doug Landry of Baton Rouge, La., a 19-year-old
junior at George Washington University, held a sign saying, "Go home
About 4 p.m., as the march ended and the crowd began to disperse,
Mardi Crawford of Albany, N.Y., said that the day had been a success. "I
think it's wonderful people are out in the streets saying the same thing
a lot of people are saying inside their homes," she said. Crawford
protested here in January and March. She said she would keep returning to
Washington to protest, as long as she felt a need.
Staff writers Spencer S. Hsu, Sylvia Moreno and Monte Reel
contributed to this report.
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